If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.
– Attributed to Mark Twain.
This is the town that turned its back to the railroads,
so sure that the steamboats on the Ohio River
would run forever, where the guy who built
the Brooklyn Bridge came to build another
as if an afterthought. It is the place that named itself
Porkopolis and wondered why people didn’t want
to move there, the city that sent a president
to the White House so fat that he couldn’t
get out of his bathtub, to have a football team
so bad that in case of a tornado the safest
spot to be is in their stadium because
there’s never been a touchdown there.
It’s a place where they still have a street
named after a convicted felon banned
from baseball for life, a place where, ice storms
snap oak trees to kindling, where the river
can thaw out in February, and where in summer
you might ask a mosquito for a ride to work.
Yes, I know it’s the town where the Chicken Dance
gets played at every wedding and the Macarena
never goes out of style. Yet, I remember this city
where front porches are still used to ward off August
and windows remain open all night just to hear
river barges echoing in their summer songs.
About the author:
Richard Luftig is a past professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio who now resides in California. He is a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India. One of his poems was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Poetry Prize. He and his wife just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.